Kieran Brennan takes a look at the second instalment of the Eighth Doctor and Lucie’s adventures: Horror of Glam Rock!
Stuck inside a service station, the Doctor and Lucie encounter a pair of glam rockers, the Tomorrow Twins, as ferocious monsters try to break in.
Where Blood of the Daleks was clearly a jumping on point, Horror of Glam Rock serves to inform the listener of just how different this new era for the Eighth Doctor will be. Yes, the standard Doctor Who tropes that we’ve all grown fond of are still here, but it’s everything around the story that makes it feel like a premium product, at least in comparison to the Monthly Adventures.
It’s not that those stories feel low budget, it’s that this new series of Eighth Doctor Adventures feel higher budget. Between the custom Doctor Who closing theme and the original song “Children of Tomorrow” there is most certainly a feeling that Big Finish have made this new series their flagship for the brand.
Horror of Glam Rock continues the trend set by Blood of the Daleks, in that it’s more focused on capturing the tone and pace of the modern series rather than the classic series. That being said, I would argue that Horror of Glam Rock as a concept feels more like a classic series story reduced into a 50 minute story. This creates an interesting dynamic for the Eighth Doctor as he is once again portrayed as the bridge between classic and new Who.
What’s also notable is that, despite a shorter runtime than is usual at Big Finish, the side cast are more memorable and well-defined than those in most 2 hour Monthly Adventures stories. In particular, Bernard Cribbins is fantastic in his role as band manager Arnold Korns, shining in every scene he’s in. He of course would later go on to play Wilf in the revived series but it makes it more fun seeing this actor play such a different role.
While Cribbins is most certainly the highlight of the side cast, those around him still pull their own weight. Though, given what happens throughout the story it would have been nice to have a bit more development on the Pat character. Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith are, of course, wonderful once again; their dynamic is less of a focus here than in the previous story, but there are a handful of moments that really focus on them and add nice layers to the relationship.
For me this is where the Eighth Doctor range has truly shined; looking back on how I reviewed his Monthly Adventures, it’s clear to see that the more character-focused stories were the ones that stood out to me the most. The focus on character drama is a much more new series concept, but Big Finish have always played with longer arcs over multiple stories, especially in the Eighth Doctor releases and, although this story isn’t full of these moments, the ones that are here are interesting and worthwhile.
Horror of Glam Rock is a fairly light and breezy episode of Doctor Who which, in honesty, is the only thing that’s really holding it back. It’s a fun exercise in showing what this new era of the Eighth Doctor will be like and I imagine it’s one I’ll come back to multiple times having enjoyed it on a first listen.